An overview of the past, present and future of gravity-wave drag parametrization for numerical climate and weather prediction models

Survey Article, Stephen D. Eckermann, Hye Yeong Chun

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293 Citations (Scopus)


An overview of the parametrization of gravity -wave drag in numerical -weather prediction and climate simulation models is presented. The focus is primarily on understanding the current status of gravity wave drag parametrization as a step towards the new parametrizations that will be needed for the next generation of atmospheric models. Both the early history and latest developments in the field are discussed. Parametrizations developed specifically for orographic and convective sources of gravity waves are described separately, as are newer parametrizations that collectively treat a spectrum of gravity wave motions. The differences in issues in and approaches for the parametrization of the lower and upper atmospheres are highlighted. Various emerging issues are also discussed, such as explicitly resolved gravity waves and gravity wave drag in models, and a range of unparametrized gravity wave processes that may need attention for the next generation of gravity wave drag parametrizations in models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-98
Number of pages34
JournalAtmosphere - Ocean
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the support of Dr. John Montgomery, Director of Research at the Naval Research Laboratory. YJK was supported by the Office of Naval Research under ONR Program Element 0602435N. SDE acknowledges partial support for this work through the Office of Naval Research, NASA’s Office of Earth Sciences’ Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP) and NASA’s Office of Space Sciences’ Geospace Sciences Program. HYC was supported by the Climate Environment System Research Center sponsored by the SRC Program of the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation. The authors appreciate the three anonymous reviewers who provided a thorough review of the manuscript along with valuable comments that led to improvement of the manuscript. The authors also thank Drs. Tim Hogan, Larry Coy, Jim Doyle, Alex Medvedev, Gary Klaassen and Joan Alexander for constructive comments; Mr. Jung-Suk Goh for improving some figures; Prof. Akio Arakawa for providing Fig. 3; and Dr. Lucrezia Ricciardulli for providing data to generate Fig. 7.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science


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